Are there non-binary pronouns in Spanish?
August 3, 2019 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Knowing that Spanish is a gendered language, have any new pronouns come about? Does anyone know how non-binary folk refer to themselves in Spanish?
posted by o2b to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Everything I’ve seen uses ‘x’ to replace the o/a, i.e., “¿Estas interesadxs?” Or “para todxs” in writing. Most Latinx trans folk I know use the gendered pronouns that fit their gender to refer to themselves, and would often find the neutral pronouns above a bit of an insult, but this will be different for different people, of course.
posted by stillmoving at 9:11 PM on August 3


I've seen a few things about Les (versus Los and Las).
posted by k8t at 9:16 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


Like stillmoving I've seen either 'x' or 'e' to replace the gender-marking o/a, but I haven't come across any gender-neutral personal pronouns in the wild. Here are some links to various proposed replacements, fwiw:
https://nonbinary.wiki/wiki/Pronouns#Spanish_neutral_pronouns
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Élle
posted by nomis at 9:16 PM on August 3 [1 favorite]


In Spain it is common to use the @ symbol to refer to groups that contain males and females, ie “alumn@s” instead of alumnos/as. I don’t know if any gender-neutral or non-binary people would use it though.
posted by chainsofreedom at 8:10 AM on August 4


The most common is to use "e" instead of "a" or "o" in words that are gendered by that. Unlike "x" or "@", it's pronounceable

As for pronouns... as k8t said there is "les" as a plural third person pronoun, but there is, to my knowledge (as a very involved trans person from Uruguay, with many queer friends there and in Argentina, plus a few more in other Spanish speaking countries, but not living there myself), no singular third person gender neutral pronoun.

I found an article a while ago, by a british person who had spent some time in Latin America, proposing "elle". I have never seen or heard it used.

Compared to where I live, I think there is very little awareness of non binary genders in the Spanish speaking world, and there's fewer people who openly identify as non binary. In consequence, new language has yet to emerge.
posted by Promethea at 8:26 AM on August 4 [4 favorites]


I was back in Argentina (Buenos Aires) for the first time since 2015 this past summer, and was really surprised to find that, among twenty-somethings and younger, the generic -e (rather than -o) has become common not just for trans/non-binary individuals, but to signal a more inclusive "us" even among cishet speakers. I'd never encountered this outside of academic circles prior to last year, but I heard it among working-class and college-educated folks alike. I heard "les" used as a direct pronoun ("Voy a buscarles" ), but never "elle," although it makes sense. -X is still used in writing, but because of the pronunciation problem it seems to be moving more toward -e.
posted by dr. boludo at 9:28 AM on August 4 [6 favorites]


Micah Rajunov is a Spanish-speaking nonbinary activist who was featured in a segment of Radio Ambulante (En busca de las palabras/Finding the words). They talk about a few different strategies there.
posted by peppercorn at 1:29 PM on August 4 [3 favorites]


I found an article a while ago, by a british person who had spent some time in Latin America, proposing "elle". I have never seen or heard it used.
...
I heard "les" used as a direct pronoun ("Voy a buscarles" ), but never "elle," although it makes sense.


I have a colleague whose pronoun is "elle"! It is in real face-to-face use by real Spanish speakers, and not just a proposal on paper by an outsider.

But my perception is that it's considerably less common than English "they." In addition to my colleague ("they" in English/"elle" in Spanish) I know a number of other bilingual people who use "they" in English but just give in and use "ella" or "él" in Spanish.

I think "elle" still doesn't have the sort of visibility or critical mass that "they" does. And there is the belief (maybe correct) that nonbinary language is harder in Spanish because you have to change grammatical endings too — which I suppose could make people feel even more strongly that they can't be expected to learn to use it.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:35 PM on August 4 [2 favorites]


>>uses ‘x’ to replace the o/a,
How is that pronounced?
posted by falsedmitri at 7:45 AM on August 5


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